Disintegration at least proves that, when properly tuned, the vehicle-based gameplay that's normally presented as a one-off setpiece in most other FPS titles is capable of anchoring an entire game, especially when it's paired off with a little RTS unit management. Unfortunately, in Disintegration's case, that unique gameplay model isn't strong enough to outshine the game's lack of visual and functional polish.
If Slay the Spire was the roguelike deck-builder genre's promising first impression, Monster Train feels like the genre really hitting its stride. In some regards, Monster Train feels like a full-on sequel to Slay the Spire, but it also changes things up enough to stand firm all on its own.
It's easy to see what Camel 101 was going for as it constructed Those Who Remain's dark and foreboding world, but while the intent was noble, the execution leaves much to be desired. The game's low price point might appeal to someone who's desperate for a new game to play, but any wayward souls who come across the exit for Dormont while cruising the horror game highway should just keep on driving.
To put it politely, Shenmue III has the potential to charm existing fans of the Shenmue saga, if only in how much it painstakingly recreates the stilted beauty of its two predecessors. However, if judged on its merits alone and/or by a non-Shenmue fan, this game just feels like a whole bunch of wasted Kickstarter money. If there's one thing that Shenmue III proves, it's that bringing new fans into the fold was never Ys Net's goal.
It wouldn't be totally fair to call Need for Speed Heat a bad game, but given the exciting high-speed material it's defined by, it is a disappointingly boring one. Small blessings like the lack of over-aggressive microtransactions and an incredibly in-depth car customization suite can't make up for gameplay and progression loops which, at best, feel routine and archaic, and at worst frustrating and obtuse.
The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot is certainly not the first game that has disappointed me at launch, and hopefully it will join the list of games I was initially disappointed with but grew to love thanks to their respective developers' continued devotion and care. I know it's not the safest of bets given the Call of Duty franchise's annualized rollout, but I honestly want to see Modern Warfare continue to flourish as much as I'm sure the folks at Infinity Ward do.
Unlike its predecessor, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint risks alienating the very community it was built for due to its over-reliance on RPG-esque looting and leveling mechanics. However, shooter fans who can make peace with the game's loot-driven economy and pervasive microtransactions will find a lot to enjoy in the moment-to-moment gameplay. Breakpoint isn't quite the tactical shooter sequel fans asked for, but there's no denying the amount of long-term value it offers to shooter fans of all stripes.
Sequels aren't always a safe prospect to bet on, but The Surge 2 is one investment that Souls-like fans definitely won't be disappointed with. The game's visceral combat, robust RPG elements, and immersive exploration mechanics come together to create a second outing that's just as compelling, if not more so, than its predecessor.
Thanks to GreedFall's impressively diverse roleplaying and combat systems, it's the sort of game that any sort of RPG fan would enjoy, whether they prefer playing as the tough warrior, the cunning rogue, the wise spellcaster, or any combination of those archetypes they can think of. It may hew closely to the template that BioWare created many years ago, but GreedFall also proves there's still a lot of potential for expansive single-player RPGs that put player choice first.
It's unfortunate that Gears 5 continues the trend of 'games that were clearly shipped before they were ready' since its diverse offering of different gameplay experiences is virtually unmatched by any other shooter game or franchise. Once The Coalition has ironed out the campaign performance issues and multiplayer network problems, this latest Gears of War game has a very bright future and is a must-play for any fans of the shooter genre no matter their individual tastes.
Remnant: From the Ashes sometimes struggles to present a cohesive, balanced vision for the kind of game it's trying to be, but nestled within that chaotic swirl of ideas is a strong core that's supported by equally strong gameplay. As long as you don't mind enduring highly difficult bosses and a lack of ambient polish, Remnant is the perfect sort of game for players who appreciate both the Souls-like and tactical third-person shooting genres.
I'm not going to go so far as to call Generation Zero a straight cash grab, but charging $40 for a game that was clearly rushed out the door is a hard sin to ignore. I'm not entirely sure what Avalanche's final vision for Generation Zero was, but it clearly wasn't confident enough in that vision to give the game the proper care and resources that were required.
With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From Software has proven once again that has no qualms about pushing its own boundaries. The studio has made a name for itself by creating incredibly difficult games, but the breadth of innovation spread across the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and now Sekiro shows how good the studio is at defying fan expectations. Sekiro isn't perfect, but like the various Soulsborne games before it, From's latest shows the wisdom in pushing players beyond their pre-conceived limits.
The Division 2 is everything a player could want in a sequel. It reinvents and recalibrates where it must, but it also wisely builds off all the work Ubisoft put into refining the first Division. This sequel definitely makes you work for your rewards, but its fine-tuned gameplay and expansive suite of different activities ensures the journey towards earning those rewards is one worth taking.
Crackdown 3 does its best to ride on an action-packed wave of nostalgia, but in the end all it succeeds in doing is face-planting straight into a morass of tedium and frustration. Even the most stalwart Crackdown fans will likely wonder if the long wait was worth the final result.
If you've enjoyed playing deck-building card games and roguelikes in the past, you owe it to yourself to give Slay the Spire a try. It might take a bit to fully wrap your head around the game's concept, but once it click, it's addicting. Now's also a great time to get in on the action, since Slay the Spire will only continue to grow in the future.
Below is not an inviting or wholly accessible experience. It does, however, have a lot to offer to players who enjoy uncovering mysteries and delving headlong into the unknown. It's a more hardcore Zelda game without the true bite of a Souls-like. Love it or hate it, Below is unabashed in what it is and what it demands of players who brave its depths.
Insurgency: Sandstorm's slower, more realistic approach likely won't win over any Call of Duty fans, but then again it's not really trying to. Sandstorm was made with a very specific type of player in mind, and if you fit that mold you'll likely get dozens if not hundreds of hours out of the game. And even if you don't fit that mold completely, there are enough ancillary incentives to make Sandstorm an excellent pick-up-and-play game, especially if you have some friends to recruit.
Ashen is unique in that it borrows liberally from the Souls-like genre, but doesn't feel beholden to it. It's clear that A44 was influenced just as much by The Legend of Zelda, and even more niche adventure titles like Shadow of the Colossus, as it was by From Software's seminal Souls trilogy. Adventure game fans and Dark Souls fans alike definitely won't want to miss out on what Ashen offers.